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Full text of "Fremont's hundred days in Missouri : speech of Schuyler Colfax, of Indiana, in reply to Mr. Blair, of Missouri, delivered in the House of Representatives, March 7, 1862"

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FREMONT'S HUNDRED DAYS IN MISSOURI. 

SPEECH OF SCHUYLER COIFAX, 

OF INDIANA, 

* IN REPLY TO MR. BLAIR, OF MISSOURI, ' * 

DELIVERED 

In the House of Representatives, March 7, 1862. 



The House being in Committee of tlie Whole 
on the state of the Union 

Mr. COLFAX said : Mr. Chairman, I did 
not intend, at the opening of my friend's re 
marks, to speak on this subject to-day ; and 
therefore am but illy prepared to answer his 
elaborate argument of two hours in length. 
But I am gratified that the House, on my mo 
tion, extended his time, so that he could pre 
sent the whole array of charges at once. 

While I differed, as is known to him and 
many other members of the House, with the 
Administration, which I assisted to elect, as to 
the supersedure of Major General Fremont in 
the department of the West, I desire, lest I 
- might be misunderstood, to say at the outset, 
once and for all, that no matter what gen 
eral the Administration may put up or put, 
down, I shall sustain it with all my heart and 
soul and strength and mind in every military 
movement that it makes against the enemy. I 
believe it to be our duty to do so. It is, under 
God, the only means by which we can put 
down this gigantic, satanic, conspiracy and re 
bellion. And although I lament the superse 
dure of a general who lives to-day in the loyal 
hearts of millions of the American people, that 
can make no difference in my earnest and cor 
dial support of the Administration. 

I pass over many remarks of the gentleman 
from Missouri, [Mr. BLAIR,] which, I am sure, 
he will himself, in his cooler moments, regret. 
He has seen fit % mingle personalities with 
his criticisms, and to speak of a gentleman who 
holds a commission as major general in the 
army as a tool, a dupe, a designing man. I 
cannot follow the gentleman here. The sub 
ject is too grave to be thus discussed. 

There has been a warm friendship between 
myself and the gentleman from Missouri almost 
since our boyhood, arid I shall not suffer a sin 
gle remark to fall from my lips which could 
wound him or any friend of his, or any member 
of his family. I rise simply to vindicate his 
tory, and to prove, from the records of the day, 



that my friend from Missouri has had his feel 
ings and judgment perverted, or, perhaps, I 
should rather say influenced, by prejudice. He 
spoke about the " idolators" of Fremont. My 
friend has not used the word fittingly. Those 
whom he calls the idolators of Fremont are the 
men who stand by him to-day, just as my friend 
did from the commencement of his acquaint 
ance with him till the last of August, 18G1, 
up to which time he was his warm, his devoted 
friend and admirer. He ought, from that long 
acquaintance, to have known his mind, his ca 
pacity, his judgment, his will. In August he 
was his friend, warm and true ; in September 
he was not. All my crime is, that I continue 
the same friendship that, in common with him, 
I had in August, and did not change with him 
in September. 

Mr. Chairman, men are but nothing in this 
struggle. They are but ciphers the whole of 
them. These generals, with all their epaulets 
and sashes, are but the instruments by which 
the strong arm of the country is to put down 
this rebellion. Since the war broke out, I have, 
in ray humble sphere and capacity, endeavor 
ed to preach the doctrine of forbearance and 
concord and unity, and have implored men on 
all sides to cease depreciating our generals. I 
have said that when they go forth at the head 
of their armies with their lives in tjaeir hands, 
they are entitled to confidence and respect. 
When the Administration supersedes them, 
well and good 5 let them pass away, unless, so 
far as, this afternoon, we vindicate the past, 
without saying what the Administration shall 
do in the future. I say this as to General 
McClellan, as I do about General Fremont, 
and every other general commanding. Whether 
the Administration shall yield to the wishes of 
hosts of the people by giving General Fremont 
another command, is no part of my argument 
to-day. I have no right to dictate on this 
point ; and further than I have already advised, 
I shall say nothing. 

I have this, also, to say about General Fre- 



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FlB C.4, 



mont ; I do not take him to be perfect. I 
know that all men are fallible. He is some 
times an impulsive man. He has feelings, 
like all of us who are made of flesh and blood. 
I regret very much that he suffered this publi 
cation to be made, which the chairman of the 
joint committee on the conduct of the war ob 
jected to to day. I wish that he had bided his 
time a little longer. For six months he has 
been standing with closed lips, and listen 
ing to the allegations against him with a re 
ticence which has commanded the approbation 
not only of his friends at home, but of thou 
sands elsewhere in the civilized world, waiting 
patiently for the hour of his vindication. I 
wish he could have waited a few days longer. 
But I think that something ought to be par 
doned to a man who had poisoned arrows 
hurled against him from every side, and who 
had been deposed from his command under 
circumstances so painful and trying. 

Without disparaging any other general, I 
have this also to say of General Fremont: he is 
the only major general of the army who has, 
in this war, up to this date, gone out with his 
troops, away from his headquarters gone out 
over field and valley and mountain and plain 
and river. He was the only one. I suppose 
the others are willing to do it. But while that 
record lives and it will live in history no 
man will believe the intimations of the gentle 
man from Missouri, that Fremont is a timid 
man. The schoolboy at the log school-house 
knows very well that there is not a particle of 
timidity about the man. He may or may not 
have been fitted for the command of the depart 
ment of the West. I sincerely think he was. But 
whether he was or not, he is a brave and fear 
less man. He has braved death in a thousand 
forms, and has written his name high up on the 
scroll of history as a great discoverer, or as a 
great adventurer, if you will. He has planted 
the Stars and Stripes on the highest point of 
the Rocky Mountains. He has suffered priva 
tion and suffering and toil in his daring jour 
neys. His cheek has not blanched in the pres 
ence of danger or of death. And when he 
knew that the sword of Damocles was hanging 
over his head by a single hair, he went forth 
with his army in pursuit of the enemy, to pun 
ish treason with the sword, and encamped with 
the advance guard, instead of with the rear, as 
is usually the custom of commanding generals. 
No, sir; General Fremont is not a coward. 
He has no timidity. 

Mr. BLAIR, of Missouri. My friend does 
not state, I trust, that I called General Fremont 
a coward. 

Mr. GOLF AX. The language that my friend 
used was "timidity," which is of course a qual 
ified degree of cowardice. 

Now, in relation to this contract for the con 
struction of earthworks in St. Louis, I wish to 
say that I will be frank upon this subject as 
upon every other. I do not approve of that 



contract. I think the contractor made too much 
money out of it. I do not suppose it was made 
upon the judgment of General Fremont, but 
that he yielded to the opinions of the heads of 
the engineer department about prices. I think 
the prices were too high, and truth compels 
me to say so, because, when I stand here to vin 
dicate General Fremont, I will not sacrifice the 
truth to vindicate him or anybody else. If I 
speak at all, I must express my convictions. 
But admitting that there was extravagance in 
Jbds department, I ask whether every otter de 
partment of the army has been managed with 
more care and less extravagance? Has not the 
Government been imposed on even here, despite 
the keenest watchfulness of the most experi 
enced officers, some of whom have had no 
military duties to engross or distract their 
minds? 

Adj. Gen. Thomas says in his report that two 
or three hundred horses were found unfit for 
service ; that they were lame and ringboned 
and spavined, although it is not proved that 
Fremont had seen a single one of them. Well, 
sir, when I came to Washington at the begin- 
ing of the present session, upon looking into 
the Star, I noticed the sale of fourteen hundred 
condemned Government horses, of the army of 
the Potomac, which brought prices ranging 
from twenty-five cents to sixty dollars. Yet my 
friend had no denunciations against the man 
agement of this department. In time of war, 
in conducting operations on so extensive a 
scale, the experience of England in the Cri 
mean war, and of all other nations at such 
times, unfortunately prove that it is not to be ex 
pected that everything would be precisely right, 
that all articles shall be suddenly bought of the 
best quality and at the lowest prices. I noticed, 
also, that the exhibits attached to General 
Thomas's report contained two singular com 
plaints against General Fremont. One was a 
complaint by General Hunter, that Fremont 
had ordered him into the field, and that he had 
forty wagons and only forty-one mules. And 
the very next of the exhibits was a complaint 
by Quartermaster Turnley, within a few days 
of the date of General Hunter's letter, complain 
ing that Fremont had ordered him to push on 
the inspection of mules as rapidly as possible. 
I think these two complaints exactly answer 
each other. But how could Fremont have sat 
isfied both critics? % 

My friend from Missouri vindicates the char 
acter of the city of St. Louis. I wish I could 
believe all he says about the loyalty of that city, 
for I think it is a very pleasant city. I have 
spent many pleasant days there ; I have en 
joyed not only the hospitality of my friend from 
Missouri, representing the St. Louis district, 
but of many other friends in that city. I be 
lieve witfi him that the great body of the work 
ing men of that city are loyal, but that a ma 
jority of the men of wealth and high social po 
sition there are disloyal. 






Mr. BLAIR, of Missouri. The gentleman 
is mistaken. 

Mr. GOLF AX. I cannot yield to my friend, t 
at least until I have finished this sentence, j 
Why, sir, even since General Halleck assumed I 
the command of that department the secession ] 
candidates for officers of the Chamber of Com 
merce of St. Louis were elected by a sweeping 
majority. 

Mr. BLAIR, of Missouri. It is true that 
the secession candidates were elected by the 
Chamber of Commerce by a majority, and the 
same fact is true in reference to the Mercan 
tile Library Association of St. Louis, but that 
only shows that the commercial men of the 
city were largely engaged in commerce with 
the South, and were in that way identified with 
secession. But I say to the gentleman that I 
know the city well, and I know that the two 
regiments raised, which General Lyon took 
prisoners at Camp Jackson, were all the seces 
sion troops they could raise, and all they could 
arm. There was never any necessity of de 
claring martial law. 

Mr. COL PAX. I beg to say to my friend that I 
know something about St. Louis, though not, 
of course, as much as himself. I have not only 
visited it frequently, but I read the newspapers 
published there, and particularly a paper which 
used to be considered his organ, but I believe 
is not now a favorite of his, the St. Louis 
Democrat. And my friend knows very well 
that in the case of the Mercantile Library 
Association, every effort was made, both by the 
Unionists and secessionists, to carry the elec 
tion ; that the Union men paid the dues of 
Union members in arrears, and proposed num 
bers of others, qualified for admission, for the 
purpose of obtaining their votes, but never 
theless were defeated by a large majority. 

Mr. BLAIR, of Missouri. The reason why 
the Union men left the Hall, and refused to par 
ticipate in the meeting, was, that a hundred 
Union candidates to become members were 
excluded by a majority of the old members, 
under a technical rule requiring one day's 
notice before admission. I do not often read 
the organ of the Fremont party, of which the 
gentleman speaks, but I think I am pretty well 
acquainted with the facts, nevertheless. 

Mr. COLFAX. I have no doubt of it, and 
my friend knows very well that these members 
of the Chamber of Commerce, who elected their 
secesson candidate, voted for him openly as 
such in face of the United States military 
authorities in the city. They made no pro 
fessions of zealous loyalty, as many secession 
ists have done in face of an armed force. Their 
conduct was so open and undisguised that 
General Halleck ordered every one of the 
officers elect to come up and take the oath of 
allegiance ; being, I believe, the first civilians 
he imposed this upon, though he has required 

since more extensively still. 



Mr. BLAIR, of Missouri. The gentleman 
will allow me to say 

Mr. COLFAX. I cannot yield further. I 
did not interrupt my friend the whole time he 
was speaking. 

Mr. BLAIR, of Missouri. The gentleman 
says they were openly secession 

The CHAIRMAN. The gentleman from 
Missouri is out of order. The gentleman from 
Indiana declines to yield. 

Mr. BLAIR, of Missouri. I am a little sen 
sitive upon this point. 

Mr. COLFAX. Then I will yield, of course. 

Mr. BLAIR, of Missouri. I merely desire 
to say that these men did not vote for what was 
called a secession candidate, but for a man 
known to be a Union man, and who refused to 
hold the office after he had been elected. 

Mr. COLFAX. Still the statement remains 
uncontradicted that he was voted for as a se 
cession candidate by those who sympathized 
with the men who are in arms against the Gov 
ernment, and was elected as such. 

Mr. Chairman, I know that the mass of the 
people of the city of St. Louis, the working 
people, as I sjaid previously, are loyal-; for, sir, 
when this same General Fremont came back 
to that city after his removal ; when he came 
with no favors to confer, but degraded, dis 
honored, deposed from his command, the loyal 
people of that city, who had heard all the 
charges of their Representative against him, 
but who still confided in him, flocked by thou 
sands and tens of thousands, with banners and 
torchlights, and music and shoutings, to wel 
come him as no man was ever welcomed there 
before. Oh, yes, sir, the heart of the people 
of St. Louis is loyal ; they have proved it so. 

RESPONSIBILITY FOB THE DEATH OP GENERAL 
LYON. 

My friend from St. Louis has quoted docu 
ments and presented arguments to prove that 
General Fremont had it in his power to rein 
force General Lyon before the battle of Spring 
field, and that his failure to perform that duty 
was the cause of General Lyon's death, and 
these I desire now to examine. Sir, the death 
of General Lyon occurred on the 10th of Au 
gust, and yet the friendship of the gentleman 
from Missouri for General Fremont continued 
undimiuished for weeks after. He continued 
to be the friend of the man whom he now ar 
raigns as a guilty criminal ; for if the charges 
he makes are proved, General Fremont, in 
wilfully suffering the death of that gallant 
officer, was guilty of a no less crime than mur 
der. I think I can show to this committee that 
twenty days after the death of General Lyon 
my friend from Missouri did not charge Gen 
eral Fremont with crime in failing to send rein 
forcements. I will read the dispatch of Cap 
tain Schofield, now General Schofield, whom 
my friend knows ; because he was, I believe^ 
connected with his regiment at St. Louis when 



I was there. I want to show the reasons why 
General Lyon was not reinforced, and I shall 
show it in a way my friend from Missouri can 
not deny, unless he denies the documents 
themselves. In his dispatch, as adjutant gen 
eral of General Lyon, dated Springfield, July 
15, he says : 

" Governor Jackson is concentrating his forces in the 
southwestern part of the State, and is receiving large rein 
forcements from Arkansas, Tennessee, Louisiana, and Texas. 
His effective force will soon be certainly not less than thirty 
thousand men, probably much larger. All idea of any fur 
ther advance movement, or of even maintaining our present 
position, must s(.on le abandoned, unless the Government fur 
nish us promptly with large reinforcements and supplies. Our 
troops are badly clothed, poorly fed, and imperfectly sup 
plied with tents ; none of them have yet been paid, and the 
three mouths' volunteers have become disheartened to such 
an extent that very few of them are willing to renew their 
enlistment. The blank pay-rolls are not here, and the long 
time required to get them here, fill them up, send them to 
"Washington, have the payment ordered, and the pay -mas 
ter reach us, leaves us no hope that our troops can be paid 
for five or six weeks to come. Upon these circumstances 
there remains no other course but to urgently press upon 
the attention of the Government the absolute necessity of 
sending us fresh troops at once, with ample supplies for 
them and for those now here. At least ten thousand men 
should be sent, and that promptly. You will send the inclosed 
despatch by telegraph to General McClellan, and also to the 
War Department, and forward by mail a copy of this letter." 

This is directed to Chester Harding, jr., assist 
ant adjutant general at St. Louis, who doubt 
less sent the dispatch to General McClellan as 
requested, and here is the dispatch, dated July 
20, of General McClellan, in reply : 
To CHESTER HABDING, Jr, Assistant Adjutant General : 

In case of an attack on Cairo, have none but Illinois troops 
to reinforce, and only eleven thousand arms in Illinois. 
Will direct two regiments to be ready at Caseyville ; but 
you.will only use them for defence of St. Louis, and in case 
of absolute necessity. Telegraph me from time to timo. 

G. B. MCCLELLAN, 

Major General United States Army, 

He could not allow reinforcements to go to 
the support of General Lyon in the southwest. 
There was more imminent danger he felt nearer 
by ; and he pointed to Cairo as one of the threat 
ened points, and St. Louis as another. He will 
11 direct two regiments to be ready at Caseyville, 
but you will ONLY use them for defence of St. 
Louis, and in case of absolute necessity." Here 
is a dispatch of General McClellan, five days after 
Lyon's appeal for troops through his assistant 
adjutant general, and six days before General 
Fremont arrived at St. Louis, declining to send 
reinforcements to General Lyon. And now I 
want General Lyon to speak from his grave, 
and answer whether he considers General Fre 
mont responsible for his death. 

I retd, first, a letter from Lyon himself to 
Assistant Adjutant General Harding, at St. 
Louis : 

SPRINGFIELD, MISSOURI, July 17, 1861. 

Sm: I inclose you a copy of a letter to Col. Townsend 
on the subject t.-f an order from Gen. Scott, which calls for 
five companies o; the second infantry to le withdraum 
from the West and sent ><> Washington. A previous order 
withdraws the mounted trocpt, as I am informed, and were 
it not that some of them were en route to this place they 
would now be in Washington. This order carried out 
would not nmv leave at Fort Leavcnworth a single company. 
1 have companies B and E second infantry now under ord/'rs 
for Washington, and if all these troops leave me I can do 
rmhinij, and mnst retire in the absence of oUter troops to 
supply their places. In fact, I am badly enough off at the 



best, and must utterly fail if my regulars all go. At 
Washington troops from all the Northern, Middle, and 
Eastern States are available for the support of the army 
in Virginia, and more are understood to be already there 
than are wanted, and it seems strange that so many trotps 
must go on from the West, and strip us of the means of 
defence ; but if it is the intention to give vp the West, let it 
~be so. 

I omit a severe allusion to General Scott, be 
cause I do not wish, by reproducing it here, 
even to give it currency, feeling that General 
Lyon, in his great anxiety, did him injustice. 
The letter concludes : 

Cannot you stir up this matter and secure us relief? 
See Fremont if he has arrived. The want of supplies has 
crippled me so that I cannot move, and I do not know 
when I can. Everything seems to combine against me at 
this point. Stir up Blair. 

Yours truly, 

N. LYON, Commanding. 
Colonel HARDiN 7 G 7 St. Louis Arsenal, Missouri. 

I would not allude to my friend's brother at 
all if it had not been that he himself alluded to 
him in his speech, and the only allusion I shall 
have occasion to make to him is the one I am 
now about to make. I wish to use his evidence 
to show why General Lyon was not reinforced. 
On the 26th of July last, Montgomery Blair 
wrote to General Fremont as follows : 

WASHINGTON, July 26, 1861. 

DEAR GENERAL : I have two telegrams from you, but find 
it impossible now to get any attention to Missouri or ^"(.-.st 
ern matters from the authorities here. You will have to 
do the best you can, and take all needful responsibility to 
defend and protect the people over whom you are specially 
set. * * * * * * * " 

Yours, truly, and in haste, 

M. BLAIR. 

That was five days after the battle of Bull 
Run, and when this city was supposed to be in 
imminent danger ; and I doubt not that fact 
explains why the West was comparatively neg 
lected. I shall assume that, and blame no one, 
for my object and resolution is to attack no 
one to-day, but to simply give reasons for the 
faith that is in me. 

I shall read now some more extracts from 
General Lyon's correspondence, because the 
one I have read was not the only protest he 
made. The next is from a letter from General 
Lyon, written to Colonel Harding on the day 
after Fremont reached St. Louis, and ten days 
after the previous letter. He says, under date 
of July 27: 

" If the Government cannot give due attention to the West 
Her Interests must have a corresponding disparagement." 

And in a memorandum from General Lyon, 
sent by Colonel Phelps to General Fremont, 
dated Springfield, July 27, he says : 

" The safety of the State is hazarded ; orders from General 
Scott strip the entire West of regular forces, and increase 
the chances of sacrificing it." 

But I wish now to read the statement of his 
assistant adjutant general, Colonel Harding. 
It is long, but it does justice to the dead gen 
eral and to the living general ; and it is written 
by the assistant adjutant general, who, from 
his confidential relations with his chief, knew 
his thoughts beat of all men now living. 
" Looking, then, to the position of affairs in this State on 
ie 26th July, 1861, it will be found that Gen. Lyon was in 



the southwest, in need of reinforcements. There was 
trouble in the northwest, requiring more troops than were 
there. In the northeast there were, no more troops than 
were required to perform the task allotted to them, while 
in tin; south and southeast there was a rebel army of .suffi 
cient force to endanger Bird's Point, Cape Qirardeau, Iron- 
ton, Holla, and St. Louis, and no adequate preparation was 
made to meet it. 

<k Gen. Fremont sent the 8th Missouri to Cape Girardeau, 
and the 4th U. S. Reserve Corps (whose term of service was 
to expire on the Sth August) to reinforce Bland at Ironton. 
He took some of Gen. Pope's force from him, added to it 
two battalions of the 1st and 2d U. S. Kes.-n e Corps, (whose 
term of service was to expire on the 7th August.) equipped 
Buel's light battery, and started about the 1st August for 
Bird's Point, with the troops thus collected, being some 
thing less than 3,800 men, and beino; also. all the available 
troops in this region, expecting to find an enemy not less 
than 20,000 strong. 

" Subsequent events showed that the rebel force was not 
overestimated, and nothing but the reinforcements sent to 
the points above named and the expedition down the 
river prevented its advance upon them Common report 
greatly magnified these reinforcements; and it was gener 
ally believed in the city, and no doubt so reported to the 
rebel leaiers, that Fremont had moved some 10.0UO or 12,- 
OOa troops to the southeast, while in fact he did not have 
over 5,50 ;> to move, and was not strong enough at any 
point to take the field and commence offensive operations 

" Gen. Fremont was not inattentive to the situation . .f Gen. 
Lyou's column, and went so far as to remove the garrison 
of Booneville, in order to send him aid." 

But my friend from Missouri says that there 
were quantities of troops coming into St. Louis 
who could have been detailed to reinforce Gen 
eral Lyon. So there were ; but hear what Col 
onel Harding says : 

" During the first days of August, troops arrived in the 
city in large numbers. Nearly all of them were unarmed ; 
all were without transportation. Regiment after regiment laid 
for days in the city ivithout any equipments, for the reason 
that Ike arsenal was exhausted, and arms and accoutrements 
had to be brought from the East. From these men General 
Lyon would have had reinforcements, although they were 
wholly uupracticed in the use of the musket, and knew 
nothing of movements in the field ; but in the mean time the 
battle of the 10th of August was fought." 

And yet, when they were entirely without 
arms, and Fremont sought, at this very time 
the 6th of August in his overwhelming anxi 
ety and solicitude, to buy any kind of arms to 
put into their hands to protect the Unton, afyi 
put down the rebellion, and save the lives of our 
brave soldiers and their generals at all the'ex- 
posed points in his department, he was denoun 
ced from one end of the country to the other as 
being in the hands of contractors, and in cor 
rupt collusion with knaves. The inferior arms 
that he bought at this critical moment in his 
hour of direst extremity forms one of the 
counts of the Investigating Committee's indict 
ment against him. If this is justice, God save 
me from ever being in any position in this Gov 
ernment to receive such justice ! 

My friend stated, and I took down the exact 
words that fell from his lips, that " there was at 
that time no necessity to reinforce Cairo from 
St. Louis 5 that it could have been reinforced 
from other directions." Now, I differ with him 
on that point, and I think I can prove that I 
am right. Fremont then had actually but little 
available force under his command. Indeed, 
on the 16th of July, only ten days before Fre 
mont reached St. Louis, General Lyon had had 
to authorize one regiment of his little band at 
Springfield (Colonel Brown's fourth) to return 



;o St. Louis, to be mustered out of service, at 
the expiration of their three months' enlistment 
The three months' men would not re-enlist, be 
cause they could not get their pay. The West 
at that time, in the pressure from the East, and 
:he imminent peril of the Capital, seemed to 
3e neglected. The troops already under arms 
did not see the paymaster, and they would not 
re- enlist. With this inadequate force and this 
lack of arms, Fremont had to choose between 
reinforcing one point or the othes. Now, I 
submit the question to the House and the coun 
try, which of those two points was the most im 
portant; the one at the end of a wagon road 
in southwestern Missouri, whence Lyon could 
possibly retreat if he felt that he could not sus 
tain his position, and the other at the mouth of 
the Ohio river, where it joins the Mississippi, 
commanding both streams, and the furthest 
point south of which we had possession? 
Which was the most important? Should they 
retire from Cairo or from Springfield? I con 
tend, that, as this evidence proves, Fremont 
could only reinforce one of these points, and 
he went down to Cairo on the 1st of 'August. 
My friend insists that General Prentiss's dis 
patches prove that he did not stand in pressing 
need of reinforcements. Let us see. I read 
now what General Prentiss said. General Pren- 
tiss was commanding at Cairo, and on the 23d 
of July he wrote to Colonel Harding as follows : 

" Have but eight (8) regiments here. Six (6) of them are 
three (3) months' men Their lime expires this week are re 
organizing now. I have neither tents nor wagons, and must 
hold Cairo and Bird's Point." 

He said he had but eight regiments, and six 
of them were three' months' men, and their term 
expired that very week, before Fremont could 
get there, leaving only two certainly available 
regiments at Cairo. Now let us see what was 
the position of the rebel forces in the vicinity 
of Cairo. I read again from General Prentiss, 
under date of July 28 : 
" To Major General FREMONT : 

" Rebels from Tennessee are concentrating at New Mad 
rid, Missouri, with avowed intention of assaulting Bird's 
Point. They may intend going to Cape Girardeau. Colonel 
Marsh has no battery. I have none to spare. My command 
is merging from three months' to three years 1 service on half 
recess. Mustering in yesterday and to-day. I have but tioo 
six-pounders prepared to move." 

We come down now to July 29, the next 
day. General Prentiss again telegraphs Fre 
mont; and you will see that the danger is 
daily becoming more imminent: 

" On yesterday 3,000 rebels, west of Bird's Point 40 miles'. 
300 at Madrid, and three regiments from Union City or 
dered there; also troops from Randolph and Corinth- 
The number of organized rebels within fifty miliv of , 
exceed twelve thousand that is including Randolph troops 
ordered and not including several companies opposite in 
Kentucky." 

Again, on the 1st day of August, he tele 
graphed General Fremont a still darker pros 
pect, as follows. (New Madrid is on the Mis 
sissippi river, south of Cairo, and not very dis 
tant:) 

"The following information just received is, I be 
very reliable. General Pillow was at New Madrid on the 



6 



Morninq of (lie Sift, with eleven thousand troops well armed 
and well drilled; two regiments of cavalry splendidly equipped; 
one battery of 1lijin g artillery, ten pounders , an > ten guns 
manned and officered by foreigners ; several mountain how 
itzers and other artillery, amounting in all to one hundred. 
Nine thousand more moving to reinforce. He has promise* 
Governor Jackson to place twenty thousand men in Mis 
souri at once. I have a copy of his proclamation and also | 
one of his written passes." 

These dispatches came pouring in upon Gen- j 
eral Fremont from this exposed and important 
position, vital not only for Illinois but for the j 
whole Union, where there were but eight regi- j 
ments, only two of which they had a right to j 
hold there, the remaining six being three i 
months' men whose term had expired, and the \ 
rebels were forming round them twenty thou j 
sand strong. McClellan, but ten days before, j 
had, in reply to Lyon's appeals, in the tele- j 
gram I have quoted, expressly pointed to Cairo j 
as a threatened position, and had alluded to 
the inadequate forces at his command even for 
its defence. What should an officer do under 
such circumstances? "Fremont did the best | 
he could ; he got together all the men he could, 
and went down with steamboats to Cairo. And 
for this he was condemned all over the coun 
try, because he went down there with steam 
boats and u made a parade," when really it 
was useful, because it impressed the seces- j 
sionists and capitalists of St. Louis with the | 
conviction that he had a larger force than he | 
really had. But let me say, in passing, just 
here, that great complaint was made because 
General Fremont went down to the boat in a 
carriage and four. My friend did not speak of j 
it, but the charge has been in circulation all 
over the country. Now, the facts in relation to 
that matter are just these, as I learned at St. 
Louis. His friends, without his knowledge, 
when the expedition was ready to start, brought 
a carriage and four to his house for him to 
ride down to the boat in. When Fremont 
came to the door, and saw it, he positively re 
fased to ride in it, preferring to walk to the 
levee or to go in an ordinary carriage. Bat 
his friends told him that it had been said that 
he dare not show himself to the people for 
fear of being assassinated, and it was neces 
sary that he should go down to the boat as 
publicly as possible, in order to show that there 
was no truth in the report; and thereupon Fre 
mont consented to enter the carriage, and this 
was added to the charges against him. 

I have heard a great deal, too and the 
Housf will pardon me for these digressions, as 
a few incidental points strike my mind while 
speaking about a costly $6,000 house which 
he hired in St. Louis for himself and his staff. 
I have been in that house, and so has my 
friend from St. Louis ; for at one time both he 
and I were able to pass its " barricades." Other 
generals and other officers have found that 
they must exclude most of the thousand visit 
ors desiring to see them if they wished to at 
tend to their grave and responsible trusts; but 
from one end of the country to the other Fre 



mont was denounced for these barricades. I 
found out this in regard to that celebrated 
house : that the officers crowded into that one 
house, where they were at the instant call of 
the commanding general, no time lost in send 
ing messengers from one office to another, but 
all under the same roof, and the telegraph with 
them, would, if they bad been in separate quar 
ters, have been allowed, under the -*rmy regu 
lations, $6 400 for quarters. Fremont paid 
$6,000 a year for this house, and yet he has 
been denounced for that as an evidence of his 
reckless extravagance. 

There is another thing to which I wish to 
refer before I leave these minor points. When 
I reached St. Louis at one time. I heard a gr^at 
many sneers about Fremont having ordered five 
hundred tons of ice, and about the glorious 
time he and his staff would have with their sherry 
cobblers, &c., on their march to southwest Mis 
souri. I made inquiry about it, and found that 
it was on a requisition from the surgeon that 
this ice was supplied. It was not to accompany 
the army, but to be used in the hospitals along 
the railroads, where the sick were suffering, 
and to which the wounded, after battle, would, 
if possible, have been brought. It made my 
heart bleed to think that the General com 
manding should be denounced for this. In 
some of the Indiana regiments, my own fellow- 
citizens, for whose sufferings in the field or 
the hospital I have felt deeply, nearly half 
the men were lying sick from fevers con 
tracted by malaria and exposure, and because 
they were not used to the muddy water of the 
Missouri. Aftr they went into hospital, and 
drank the same water, they continued sick. One 
regiment, the twenty-second, had a majority in 
hospital from the malaria and the drinking of 
this water. The surgeons asked for ice for 
l|pspital purposes, for the sick and suffering men 
who had gone out to fight, to suffer, and to die, 
if needs be, for their country. And for yield 
ing to that, and showing, as he always has, a 
deep solicitude for the men under his command, 
Fremont was denounced in St. Louis and all 
over the country. Let the denunciation go on. 
The brave men whrse parched lips were thus 
cooled will not forget the man who has been 
thus condemned for this additional act of "ex 
travagance." 

But, Mr. Chairman, I have no time to ex 
amine and explain all the charges " thick as 
the leaves in Vallambrosa" which have been 
made against him. The balance, or most of 
them, at least, are of a piece with those to 
which I have alluded. Let them all pass. 

THE SADDEST DAYS 1ST MISSOURI. 

My friend says that the " hundred days" of 
Fremont were the saddest days for all the loyal 
persons in Missouri that they had seen. I 
differ with him in that. There was a sadder 
day for them than those. It was after Fre 
mont was deposed, and after this army that had 



gone forth with banners and music to south 
western Missouri, and the enemy fleeing before 
them, took up its line of merch back to the 
line of the railroad, and the more densely pop 
ulated settlements. The people of southwestern 
Missouri, who, in the exuberance of their zeal, 
when they saw the Stars and Stripes borne by 
Fremont's army, had clapped their hands with 
joy, and proclaimed themselves for the Union 
these men, from the very heights of confidence 
and hope, were plunged into the very valley of 
despondency by this forward movement being 
changed into a retreat. And when the army 
took up its backward march, they, knowing 
what fate they might expect to meet from the 
vengeance of the rebel hordes of Price the 
halter, the prison, outrage and robbery, tyran 
ny and spoliation followed that army, with 
their sorrowing families, in sad procession, 
back to St. Louis, penniless and homeless, 
when, had Fremont not been superseded, the 
army would have gone on with the banner 
they had welcomed full high advanced, instead 
of coming back and leaving all southwest Mis 
souri to be ravaged by traitors, un.til three 
months afterwards a more fortunate general 
led another army over the same route that Fre 
mont had trodden, and on the same mission. 
No, sir ; that was the saddest day that the loyal 
men of Missouri had ever seen. 

FREMONT'S PROCLAMATION. 

My friend has said that the proclamation of 
General Fremont was bombastic. I cannot 
turn aside from this argument to analyze its 
sentences and to discuss the question whether 
it was bombastic or firm and decided ; whether 
it was a mere flourish of the pen, or intended 
to prove that those who embarked in rebellion 
should find it a costly experiment, not only as 
to their lives, but also as to their possessions. 
The President modified it, as he had a consti 
tutional right to do. I have never quarreled 
with the President because he saw fit to say 
that that proclamation must be changed. I 
regret that ,he was of that opinion. But I 
know Mr. Lincoln to be an honest man as 
honest and as conscientious and true-hearted a 
man as walks the earth ; and I know he must 
have taken this position because he felt, look 
ing over the whole country, that that seemed 
to be his duty. Whether he erred or Fremont 
erred, I would be the last man to asperse any 
of Mr. Lincoln's acts, when they are based, as 
all know they are, on his convictions. When 
the President ordered the proclamation to be 
modified, General Fremont replied in a letter, 
moderate and not u bombastic," wherein he 
says he prefers, if the President feels it neces 
sary, he should himself modify it; and that he 
would bow to the order, as a subordinate should 
always bow to the rebuke of his chief. The 
following was his reply to the President's dis 
sent from his proclamation : 

" Trusting to have your confidence, I have been leaving 



it to event* themselves to show you whether or not I was 
soaping affairs here aw..rdii, K t,, ymr Ideas The hortest 
communication between Washington and St Louis -m-rally 
involves two days.and the employment of two days iu tinre 
of war goes largely toward th " 

tore, went along according to my own Judgment ieatiae 
the result <t my movement to justify me will, . 
in regard to my proclamation ol August 30th. B >tw :en the 
rebel armies, the Provisional Government, and h..,,,,. trai- 
tors, I felt the position b.id, and s iw .1 .jj.,^ 

I decided upon the proclamation, and tl,- form <>t it. : 
it the next morning and printed it u,e. s-inv day I did it 
without consultation or advice witn any one actin-' solely 
with my best judgment to serve the country and yourself 
and i erfecfly willing to rec-iv theamoantol censure which 
should be thought due if I made a false movement This is 
as much a movement in the war as a battle; and m going 
into these I shall have to act according to my judgf, 
the ground before me, as I did on this o 'ipon 

reflection, your better judgment still decides that I am 
wrong in the article respecting the liberation of slaves I 
have to ask that you will openly direct me to m 
rection. The implied censure will be received as a soldier 
always should the reprimand of his chief. If I were to re 
tract of my own accord it won!" imply that I myself thought 
it wrong, and that I had acted without the reflection which 
the gravity of th point demanded. But I did not. 1 
with fuli deliberation, and upon the certain conviction that 
it was a measure right aud necessary; and 1 ti. 

I think my friend might have spared the 
sarcastic remarks which he made about the 
threatened mutiny at Springfield when General 
Fremont was removed from command. I have 
the assurance of a gentleman from Indmna, 
whose word is as goori as mv oath, or any other 
man's oath I mean Col. Hudson, the asrent of 
the State of hid ana who was there at the time, 
that there was sadness all over the camp when 
the news came that Fremont was actually su 
perseded. This may have been unjust to his 
successor. It may have been unwarranted ; but 
still the fact was so. The fact also exists that 
Fremont's utmost influence was promptly ex 
erted to preserve subordination among his troops. 
He bowed, without a murmur, to the decision, 
though it took from him the coveted opportuni 
ty of vindicating himself againsi all who had 
attacked him, and he demanded that all under 
his command should cordially obey his suc'-es- 
sor. His farewell to the " Mississippi army " 
which he had labored so earnestly, asrahut all 
adverse circumstances, to organize; which he 
had led, by forced marches that, seem incredi 
ble, almost into the presence of the retreating 
enemy, and which was the only army o the 
Union that had, up to that time, b-en I'd fi'tj 
miles away from a railroad or a navigable water 
course has been read, not only in our own but 
also in foreign lands, even by men who, with 
the multiplied charges against him, had doubted 
his capacity, with moistened eyes, as they saw 
how nobly that man, thus stricken do-vn, fell 
without a word of complaint, and closed his 
military career in the western deparmnt by 
stirring words of encouragement to the sralUnt 
soldiers from whom he was thus separated. 
Even one of the leading New York papers that de 
nounced him spoke in highly eulogistic language 
of the manner in which he met his fate.* And 

* HEADQUARTERS WESTERN DEPARTMENT, 

Springfield, J/b., Nov. 2, 1861. 
Soldiers of the Mississippi Army : Agreeably to orders this 



8 



have passed since then. Has there been a man 
who bore himself so meekly ? He visits New 
York, after official consent was at last obtained 
for him to leave St. Louis, and refuses the com 
plimentary reception that thousands would 



when twenty thousand of the constituents of my I as a commanding general, desiring thus to 
friend from Ohio. [Mr. GURLEY,] 'who had been weaken the power and cripple the resources of 
on his staff, came thronging to honor the fallen the traitors, embodied it in a proclamation, as 
General, and offered him an ovation in the city the Senator did in a sentence. 
of Cincinnati, he declined it, and passed through 
without accepting any hospitality, six months 

I come now to the siege and fall of Lexing 
ton. I think I have shown, by General Lyon's 
own statement, that he did not arraign Fre 
mont for not being strengthened and succored ; 
and I should have added then that Fremont 

gladly have joined in. No word of bitterness I arrived in St. Louis only fourteen days before 
or complaint falls from his lips. He comes to Lyon's death. I have shown where General 
this city, subpoenaed by a congressional coin- Lyon thought the responsibility rested. I have 
mittee, to testify as to his management of his shown the dispatch from General McClellan, 
responsible trust. He comes here, and bears only six days before Fremont arrived at St. 
himself as modestly a* in New York. Do you Louis, saying that there were only enough 
see any parade of his gaping wounds to the troops and arms to reinforce Cairo, and that the 
people ? Not at all. He has not even prompt- troops he could spare, and but two regiments 
ed me to say a single word in his behalf, at that, must only be used to defend St. Louis, 
although he knows me to be his friend. I have and only then " in case of absolute necessity." 
not asked him for a single fact in reference to I will now leave that part of the subject and 
his case, because I wanted to speak independ come to the surrender of Mulligan at Lexing- 
etly here, as a Representative of the people, ton. I think I can make out as strong a vin- 
He doubtless longs to be in the service of his dication for General Fremont there. I am 
country at this hour of her peril. And though glad to see that my friend from Missouri is pay- 
he may chafe at inaction, as his heart bounds ing so much attention. The attachment be 
at the thought of being again at the head of tween him and me has been such, that it is the 
advancing squadrons driving the enemies of most painful duty of my life to have to differ 
the country before him, have you seen a single from him to-day on such a subject. I would 
line of complaint from his pen against those far rather meet any one else here in the colli- 
who counseled his supersedure ? sion of conflicting views ; but we can differ, I 

But, to recur to his proclamation. Let me know as friends should differ when their roads 
ask what difference was there in substance be- separate^ 
tween that proclamation and the celebrated re- M ? f f lQ ^ said that troops could be got in 
mark in Cincinnati of ANDREW JOHNSON, that evei 7 direction to defend Cairo. Now here is a 
loyal, Jacksonlike and heroic Senator from dispatch from Governor Morton, of Indiana, in 
Tennessee, whom all true men in the country res ponse to Fremont's pressing appeal, dated 
cherish in their heart of hearts ? He said, about tbe 4th of .August, three days after Fremont 
the very time when Fremont issued his proc w . ent *? Cairo, and six days before Lyon was 



lamation, ' that no rebel had a right to own 

anything." Fremont said that the real and I " Can send five regiments if leave is granted by the De- 
personal property of rebels should be confisca- J?J m< !? tj as z am ordered to send them East as fast as 
ted to the public use, and that their slaves, if n 

they had any, should be declared free men ; Now, to show also how General Fremont 

and ANDREW JOHNSON, a slaveholding Senator was "aided" at that time, here is a dispatch 

from a slaveholding State, said that no rebel f rom Washington, eight days before Lyon died, 

had a ri^ht to own anything. I can see no dif an< * when Cairo, from General Prentiss's dis- 

ference between the two, except that Fremonr, patches, was so bare of artillery : 

WASHINGTON, August 2, 1861. 

day received, I take leave of you. Our army has been To Major Gen. J. C. FREMONT, Cairo: 

of sudden growth, and we have grown up together, and I This dispatch was sent yesterday to commanding officer 

nave become iamiliar with the brave and generous spirits department, Ohio, Cincinnati. Order two (2) companies 

which you bring to the defence of your country, and which fourth artillery, with their batteries, under Howard and 

^^S^ffS^iSL ^.'l bi : m l aut carcer ' Kingsbury, to St. Louis without delay.' 



Continue as you have begun, and give to my successor 
the same cordial and enthusiastic support with which you 
have encouraged me. Emulate the splendid example which 
you have already before you, and let me remain as I am 
proud of the noble army which 1 have thus far labored to 
Dnng together. 

Soldiers, I regret to leave you most sincerely I thank 
you for the regard and confidence you have invariably 
shown to me. I deeply regret that I shall not have the 
honor to lead you to the victory which you are just about 
to win ; but I shall claim to share with you in the joy of 
every triumph, and trust always to be fraternally remem- 
lered by my companions in arms. 

JOHN C. FREMONT, 
Major General U. S. A. 



WINFIELD SCOTT. 
M. BLAIR, P. M. O. 

I doubt not Fremont's heart bounded as he 
read of this timely aid coming to his relief. 

But here is another dispatch from General 
Scott of the same day : 

WAR DEPARTMENT, 
Washington, August 2, 1861. 
To General FREMONT : 

Since ordering the two batteries for you yesterday, it ap- 
P.ears one company has no guns and the other is in Western 
Virginia; neither can be withdrawn. The order is coun 
termanded. WINFIELD SCOTT. 



I will not comment on the disappointment 
the General must have felt ; but he toiled on 
with almost daily drawbacks like these. 

I come now to Lexington. I happened on 
the 14th of September to be in the city of St. 
Louis, when the whole city was excited at the 
news which had just reached it that Price was 
inarching on that gallant and devoted band at 
Lexington ; and when my friend spoke about 
the home guards which General Fremont had 
under him, it reminded me that Colonel Mulli 
gan did not bear testimony to the efficiency of 
the home guards at Lexington. 

Mr. BLAIR, of Missouri. If Colonel Mulli 
gan made such a statement, he is not as mag 
nauimous as he is brave. I will undertake to 
prove that the home guards in the trenches a 
Lexington bore themselves as gallantly as did 
Colonel Mulligan, or any other man who was 
there. Colonel Grover was wounded, and died 
of his wounds ; Colonel Peabody was badly 
wounded ; Colonel White is still disabled by 
wounds received in that fight; and 'the gallant 
major of the Kansas City home guards, whose 
name at this moment, 1 am ashamed to say, 
has slipped my memory, also received honora 
ble wounds. Thus it will be seen that the com 
manding officer of every battalion of home 
guards was wounded ; and as large a propor 
tion of men were killed and wounded as among 
the Illinois regiments. No man should dispar- 
age^ those who have shed their blood for the 
country. 

Mr. COLFAX. Colonel Mulligan's testi 
mony is the reverse of that. I was not there, 
and therefore do not know. 

Mr. BLAIR, of Missouri. These are the facts 
of the case. 

Mr. COLFAX. I wish my friend to under 
stand that I do not arraign the home guards at 
all. I do not arraign anybody. I am simply 
on the defence, and am stating the facts from 
history, and from official documents, which 
can be read by the whole country. I only 
made the passing remark that Mulligan did 
not regard the home guards as valuable auxili 
aries in his defence, though my friend cites 
their number in various towns as part of Fre 
mont's effective force. 

When I arrived at St. Louis on the 14th of 
September I saw Lieutenant Governor Hall. 
He told me that Price was marching through 
the centre of Missouri, up toward Lexington, 
with fifteen thousand men, and that Fremont 
ought to send out a column for the pur 
pose of intercepting and capturing them. I 
asked him how many men Fremont had in St. 
Louis. He said he had twenty thousand men, 
and spoke with great positiveness as to the 
number. I thought if that was correct there 
was no excuse for not sending them, and went 
to headquarters at once to see General Fre 
mont. I told him it was represented that he 
had twenty thousand men at St. Louis, that 
Price was marching on Lexington with a large 



force, and urged that a force be sent without 
delay to cut him off. He replied : " Mr. COL 
FAX, I will tell you, confidentially, how many 
men we have in St. Louis, though I would not 
have it published on the streets for my life. 
The opinion in the city is that we have twenty 
thousand men here, and this gives us strength. 
If it were known here what was the actual 
number, our enemies would be promptly in 
formed. But I will show you how many there 
are." He rang the bell, and his secretary 
brought in the muster-rolls of the morning. I 
read them, and there were in the city and for 
a circuit of seven miles round, less than eight 
thousand men, home guards and all. There 
were actually but two full regiments, and the 
remainder of the force was made up of frag 
mentary and undisciplined regiments of two 
hundred and fifty, four hundred, and six hun 
dred men. It was a beggarly array of an army 
in proportion to what was needed at that time 
for the defence even of that city against ene 
mies without or within, and I told him so. 
" But," said I, " can't you spare some of these 
men ?" The tears stood in his eyes as he 
handed me two telegraphic dispatches, just re 
ceived by him, which I read then with pain 
and sadness, and will read now, and the House 
can judge how they aided him in his plans for 
the reinforcement of Mulligan, or the capture 
of Price's army : 

WASHINGTON, September 14, 1861. 
To Major General FREMONT : 

On consultation wish the President and he'd of Depart 
ment, it was determined to call upon you for five thousand 
well-armed infantry, to be sent here without a moment's 
de-lay. G/ve them three days cooked rations. This iruft 
from your forces to be replaced by you f<oin the States of 
Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, &c. How many men have you un 
der arms in your district ? Please answer fully and imme 
diately SIMON CAMERON, 

Secretary of War.. 

WASHINGTON, September 14, 1861. 
To Major General FREMONT : 

Detach five thousand infantry from your department, to 
come here without delay, and report the number of the 
troops that will be left with you. The President dictates. 
WINi'IELD SCOTT. 

I have shown you before that there were reg- 
ments there waiting, without guns, and yet, 
when, under the^e desperate circumstances, 
jreneral Fremont bought guns, the best he 
could get, he was denounced because they were 
not Springfield muskets or Enfield rifles, or the 
>est arms known to the service. He was not 
allowed to send unarmed regiments, to be arm 
ed after they reached Washington, or on the 
road. From these he could have filled the or 
der easily. But they must be " well-armed 
n fan try." And he had been begging for '' arms, 
irms of any kind," the whole fifty days he had 
hen been in command in the West, but mostly 
n vain. And now, " five thousand well-armed 
nfantry " were needed, " without a moment's 
elay," to swell the forces of the army of the 
5 otomac. I do not allude to this to criticise, 
jike Fremont, I believe the capital of the 
ountry was, first of all, to be defended ; but if 



10 



he was foiled in his plans by demands like these, 
at such a critical moment, impartial history 
hereafter will show that it was his misfortune, 
not his fanlt- 

Mr. BINGHAM. What is the date of those 
dispatches ? 

Mr. COLFAX. Saturday, the 14th of Sep 
tember ; the very day I was there just six 
days before the fall of Lexington for I wish 
the House to remember that Mulligan surren 
dered Friday, September 20. I asked him what 
he would do, and my heart sank as I asked. 
Here was the best of his forces ordered away 
to Washington. I told him I would, if in his 
place, telegraph to Mr. Lincoln that he had 
not the eighty thousand efficient soldiers in his 
department that rumor stated he had ; that 
Missouri would be lost if the troops were taken 
away. ^ No," said he, "that would be insub 
ordination, with which I have already been 

unjustly charged. The capital must be again 

in danger, and must be saved, even if Missouri 

fall and I sacrifice myself." 

After that interview, after the noble and 

patriotic sentiment that fell from his lips, I 

should have been false to my convictions of right 

and justice, if I ha$ not stood up here to-day 

and ^ defended the man who was willing, even 

at his own sacrifice, to save the capital of the 

nation. 

Mr. BLAIR, of Missouri. The gentleman 

says Genpral Fremont on that day took out the 

muster-rolls, and showed him how many troops 

there were at St. Louis. 

Mr. COLFAX. Yes, sir; less than 

thousand. 

Mr. BLAIR, of Missouri. It so happens 

that on that same day the 14th of September 

General Fremont returned to Simon Cameron, 

Secretary of War, the following statement of 

the forces under his command : 

St. Louis, (including tome guarl) . . . 

Under Brigadier General Pope, (including home guard) 

Lexington, (including home guard).... 

Jefferson City, (one-quarter home guard) 

Rolla 

Trenton '.'.'.'.'.'." 

Cape 'Jirardeau.. '.'.'.'.'. 

Bird's Point and Norfolk. . . '. '. ".'".' '. 

Cairo, (including McClernand's brigade')' 

Fort Holt, opposite Cairo, Kentucky shore" ' 

Paducah 

Under General' Lane' 

Mound City, near Cairo... 



eight 



5,483 
2,400 
9,677 
4,700 
3,057 

650 
3,510 
4,826 
3,595 
7,791 
2,200 

900 

55,693 

Thus you will see that there were some twenty 
thousand men at and about Cairo ; and you 
will further see, by reference to the documents, 
that, under the order the gentleman has read, 
not a man was sent out of Missouri, and but 
two regiments were started from his department 
at all. Two regiments, I believe, left his depart 
ment, and went as far as General Buell's depart 
ment, and went no further. The order was 
Countermanded, and no more troops sent. The 
two regiments started were, I believe, Illinois 
troops m or about Cairo and Paducah. General 



Fremont did not send a man out of Missouri, 
I repeat, under that order, and he was not re 
quired to do it. So that the explanation'which the 
gentleman gives, and which General Fremont 
gives, by way of excusing himself for not send 
ing reinforcements to Colonel Mulligan, about 
this order to send five thousand men to Wash 
ington, amounts to just this : that no troops 
were sent to Washington at all under that order ; 
only two regiments were sent from his depart 
ment under it, and none from Missouri un 
der it. 

Mr. COLFAX. The gentleman from Mis 
souri occupied two hours in his speech, and he 
has taken a considerable portion of my time 
since. I shall only* ask to be allowed to go on 
after the expiration of my hour for the time 
that has been taken from me ; and I do not 
know that the committee will give me that, 
[cries of t( Oh, yes !"] I presume a majority of 
the committee will give their consent, but a 
single member has the power to prevent it. 

I will enlighten my friend from Missouri now 
on the point he has cited. When this order 
came to send five regiments to Washington, 
General Fremont sent down to Carondelet and 
ordered the twenty-fourth Indiana regiment, 
one of the only two full regiments he had in St. 
Louis or its vicinity, to proceed to Washington, 
but the officers of the regiment came up to his 
headquarters and urged him to allow them to 
remain in Missouri ; and that is the reason they 
did not go. He then changed the order, and 
like a faithful subordinate he telegraphed to 
Washington that he was preparing to obey the 
order although it made his heart bleed. Here 
are the dispatches : * 

HEADQUARTERS WESTERN DEPARTMENT, 

ST. Lot-is, September 14, 1861. 
To Colonel E. D. TOW.VSEND, A. 'A. G., Washington City : 

I am preparing to obey the orders received this evening 
for the five regiments. J. C FREMO\T, 

Major General Commanding. 

HEADQUARTERS WESTERN DEPARTMENT 

ST. Loris, September 14, 1S61. 
To General THOMAS, A. G., Washington City : 

I am preparing to obey the orders received this even'ng 
from the Secretary of War for the five regiments. I a ! so send 
messenger. J. C. FREMONT, 

Major General Commanding. 

True, as the gentleman from Missouri says, 
the order was at last partially countermanded ; 
but, when days were almost years, he was en 
gaged in preparations for sending on three more 
regiments of "well-armed infantry," besides the 
two he did send, for FOUR DAYS out of the six 
that elapsed between the order from Washing 
ton and the fall of Lexington ; and engaged 
besides in the most vigorous attempts, out of 
his scattered forces in the vast area of disloyal 
territory they were holding, from Paducah to 
the Kansas frontier, to reinforce the imperilled 
Mulligan. Here is the countermanding order, 
after four days and nights of anxious labors to 
omply both with duty on one side and orders 
on the other, for which his reward has been a 
sad one indeed: 



11 



To Major Gen. FREMONT : 



WASHINGTON, September 18, 1801. 



General Scott acquiesces to your wishes in your prop 
osition to retain troops not already forwarded. Ho has tel 
egraphed order to retain the two regiments which have left 
for Cincinnati to wait orders for a few days, if they have not 
passed beyond that city. 

E. D. TOWXSEND. 

Let us return to Mulligan's peril. Thinking 
there might still be hope of obtaining reinforce 
ments by appealing to the Governors of States 
near at hand, for, if they could send troops im 
mediately to St. Louis, he could order up all 
his available forces there by steamboat toward 
Lexington, he telegraphed, on this very 14th of 
September, to Governor Morton and Governor 
Dennison, of Indiana and Ohio, for help. And 
these a r e the replies, (Mr. Coggeshall was Gov 
ernor Dennison's military secretary :) 

INDIANAPOLIS, September 14, 1861. 

"We have received orders to send all available forces to 
Washington. 

0. P. MORTON, Governor of Indiana. 

COLUMBUS, OHIO, September 15, 1861. 

No troops are ordered to *- astern Virginia. All our troops 
are ordered to Western Virginia. Dennison is in Washington. 
W. T. COGGESHALL. 

His only remaining hope was in his own men, 
his scattered forces, to weaken himself at some 
points on his long line to save Lexington, if 
possible. And what did he do ? My friend 
says and I have his exact words " it cannot 
be shown that he moved one single man towards 
Lexington at all." Lexington fell on Friday, 
the 20th of September. I shall remember the 
day to the last hour of my life ; for I watched, 
as did my constituents, day by day and hour by 
hour for news from there, with a solicitude that 
excluded all thought of all other questions. 

General Fremont telegraphed in every direc 
tion. He ordered General Pope to come down 
to Lexington and reinforce Mulligan there ; he 
ordered General Sturgis to come down and rein 
force him; he ordered Jefferson C. Davis, of 
Indiana, acting brigadier general at Jefferson 
City, to go forward and reinforce him. He used 
every means in his power. The telegraphic 
wires were hot with his dispatches, sent in 
every direction, to secure the reinforcement 
of Mulligan. See the columns of them of these 
eventful days in the official dispatches, at last 
published in the New York Tribune, and which 
attest his sleepless energy so strikingly. Now, 
four days before Mulligan surrendered, see 
what General Pope telegraphs : 

PALMYRA, September 16, 1861. 
To Major General FREMONT : 

Fnun paper just handed me, I learn, for the first time, 
that important matters are occurring at Lexington. The 
troops I sent to Lexington will be there the day after to-morrow, 
and consist of two full regiments of infantry, four pieces of 
artillery, and 150 irregular horse. These, with the two Ohio 
regiments, which will reach there on Thursday, will make a 
reinforcement of 4,000 men and four pieces of artillery. Do 
you wish me to come down to St. Louis, or go to Canton 
and Keokuk to finish matters in this section? The follow 
ing force along this road at Hannibal : At Kansas, 430 ; at 
Palmyra, 320 of twentieth Illinois ; at Hudson, 4:20 of Tas 
ter's men ; at Brookfield, 650 of Morgan's regiment ; at *t 
Joseph, coming east, 3,000 Iowa and Missouri irregular 
troops. Please answer to Quincy. 

JOHN POPE, Brigadier General. 



So that General Fremont had the promise, 
that on the 18th, two days before Lexington 
actually fell, two full regiments, four cannon, 
and one hundred and fifty cavalry should suc 
cor the brave garrison there holding out, and 
that by Thursday, the 19th, one day before 
Mulligan surrendered, the reinforcement irom 
Pope's forces for Lexington should be increased 
still further, to four thousand men. That they 
did not arrive there and save it, is not Fre 
mont's fault, then. 

Nor was this all. On the 13th of September, 
the day before I arrived there, it was supposed 
at St. Louis that Price's advance threatened 
Booneville ; and Fremont telegraphed General 
Sturgis, then in north Missouri, as follows : 

HEADQUARTERS WESTERN DEPARTMENT, 

St. Louis, September 13, 1861. 

SIR : Information having been received at these head 
quarters of an intended attack on Booneville, you arc hereby 
ordered to move at once by the shortest possible route, and 
witb all practicable speed, direct to that place with your 
force of .infantry and artillery. 

J. C. FREMONT, 
Major General Commanding. 
To Brigadier General STURGIS, Mexico. 

But on the eventful 14th of September it was 
discovered that the attack would probably be on 
Lexington, and he telegraphed again to Stur 
gis, as follows : 

HEADQUARTERS WESTERN DEPARTMENT, 

St. Louis, September 14, 1861. 

SIR : You are hereby directed to move, via Utica, with 
all practicable speed, to Lexington, on the Missouri river, 
with your force of infantry and artillery. You will send 
back the three companies of the Fremont hussars, under 
Captain Blum, to St. Louis. 

The most practicable route from Utica to Lexington for 
you will be by Austinville. Finneys' Grove, and Morton. 

J. C.FREM "NT. _ 
Major General Commanding. 
To Brigadier General STURGIS, Mexico. 

On the 13th, he twice telegraphs to 'Acting 
Brigadier General Jeff. C. Davis, at Jefferson 
City, to send forward two regiments to strengthen 
Lexington, and says, "move promptly." On 
the 14th he telegraphs him that he is sending 
him up regiments and batteries from St. Louis, 
while he also notifies the Department at Wash 
ington that they should have the five regiments 
they demanded from him two from St. Louia, 
two from Cairo and vicinity, and one from Illi 
nois absolutely stripping 1 himself in St. Louis 
of every means of defence to comply with these 
wants in every direction. Not content with 
issuing orders, you find nearly half a dozen the 
same day to the same officer, urging celerity, 
energy, rapid movement. No man living could 
have done more. I add here the official dis 
patch to Jeff. C. Davis : 

HEADQUARTERS WESTERN DEPARTMENT, 

St. Louis, September 14, 1861. 

SIR : As a column of the enemy's force is moving upon 
Lexington, you art' herebv directed Immediately t>> order 
two of th" regiments under your command to the reinforce 
ment of that place. Orders hav<> already been Issued to two 
regiments in this city to proceed to Jefferson City, and re- 
inform your command. 

Brigadier General Sturgis, now at Mexico, will i'lso re 
pair to Lexington with his entire force of infantry and a 



12 



battery of artillery. On his arrival, he will assume com- 

J. C. FREMONT, 
Major General Commanding. 
To Colonel JEFF. C. DAVIS, 

Colonel Commanding at Jefferson City. 

Now, let us examine what was done. Pope's 
reinforcements did not arrive ; General Sturgis 
did come to a point near the river on the oppo 
site side from Lexington j and I have the testi 
mony of Colonel Mulligan himself that if he 
had ac ually come within sight with his forces 
on the opposite side of the river, Price had got 
so tired of fighting, the defence had been so 
persistent and unyielding, that he would have 
retired, notwithstanding his force of twenty 
thousand men, with eight brigadier generals, 
besieging one colonel of the Union forces. But 
the evidence is, that Sturgis carne down to a 
point within a few miles of the river, and learn 
ing that the ferry-boats had been destroyed, 
and that, therefore, it was impossible for him 
to cross the river, and learning from a contra 
band for they were permitted then to come 
within our lines and give information as to 
rebel movements that Price's force was twenty 
to twenty-five thousand, deemiag that he had 
not a force sufficient to meet them, as he had 
not, he retired. Fremont, however, supposed 
that, by four days after his order to him, he 
would have reached Lexington ; and on the 
18th two days before Lexington fell he sent 
orders to him at that point. 

Jefferson C. Davis, upon the reception of 
General Fremont's orders, embarked as soon 
as possible for it takes time his available 
force upon some steamboats ; and they pro 
ceeded up the river to a place called jGlasgow, 
where, learning that the rebels had erected bat 
teries, they landed for the purpose of storming 
them before proceeding under their fire; and 
in the darkness of the night they fired into each 
other, and being thrown into confusion, they 
did not get to Lexington in time to reinforce 
Colonel Mulligan. 

These three forces from different directions, 
then, set out under the orders of General Fre 
mont to reinforce the gallant defenders of Lex 
ington, and he failed in accomplishing that 
purpose because the elements seemed to be 
against him, and not because he did not seek 
in every possible way to succor that besieged 
garrison. His dispatches to his secret agents 
are not, of course, published ; but a reply from 
one of them, Charles Noyes, says that Sturgis 
was expected to reach Lexington the Wednes 
day night before the surrender, and General 
Lane the Thursday night before. B^ate seemed 
to prevent these reinforcements, not the inac 
tivity or indifference of Fremont. 

Now, to appreciate the difficulties General 
Fremont had to contend with in bringing any 
considerable number of men to any one point, 
you must remember the extended frontier, and 
the large number of posts he had to defend. 
Troops were stationed, and had to be, not only 



at St. Louis and Cairo, but all through north 
Missouri, at Lexington, at Jefferson City, at 
Rolla, at Ironton, at Cape Girardeau, at Bird's 
Point, at Fort Holt, opposite Cairo, at Norfolk, 
at Mound City, at Paducah, and many other 
points. Judge Blair testifies how difficult it 
was for him, here, at the capital, and with the 
influence wielded by a member of the Cabinet, 
to obtain any attention to Western interests, or 
compliance with Western requisitions. But Fre 
mont, with troops constantly ordered away from 
him, with a plentiful lack of guns, with credit 
impaired, if not ruined, by- the possibility of 
his removal, (and since then these creditors 
have seen their claims delayed for months, till 
examined by a board of commissioners, and 
even still unpaid,) was expected to organize 
victory, and triumph over every adverse circum 
stance. 

But let us look further, and see what was the 
condition of affairs when Price marched upon 
Lexington. Why, sir, at the very time when 
Price, with from fifteen to twenty thousand 
men, was threatening Lexington, McCulloch 
was threatening Rolla and Jefferson City, Har- 
dee was threatening Ironton, in southeast Mis 
souri, and Polk and Pillow, with a number of 
troops, estimated at twenty to twenty-six thou 
sand, were down at Columbus, threatening our 
inferior forces at Cairo ; and in addition to that, 
there were the forces of Jeff. Thompson, Martin 
Green, and other guerrilla bands ; and there 
were organized bands of rebels in every county 
in the State. The State was heaving and 
seething with insurrection under his feet, and 
he had to restore it to its loyalty. All this Fre 
mont had to encounter, with nearly eighty 
thousand rebels threatening all these exposed 
points, with the disloyalists at their homes, and 
with an inadequate force to meet the enemy. 
Sir, a responsibility was thrown upon him 
which I would not to-day take upon my shoul* 
ders for the best office in the gift of the Ameri 
can people or of the world. 

THE INVESTIGATING COMMITTEE. 

While he was struggling nobly to perform 
his duty, from every side came the poisoned 
arrows of calumny, and the ex parte te&timony 
of the investigating committee of this House, 
charging him with connivance with contractors 
to plunder the Treasury. I regret to have to 
allude to their course, for every member of the 
committee, I believe and hope, is my personal 
friend. 

Sir, I have learned to look with some dis 
trust upon ex parte testimony. I recollect that 
when my friend from Ohio, [Mr. SHERMAN,] 
who now occupies a seat at the other end of 
the Capitol, was at the head of a committee sit 
ting in judgment upon the then Secretary of 
the Navy, Mr. Toucey, they wrote to Secretary 
Toucey, as I found in re-reading their report 
recently, that they were going to examine into 
the live oak contract and other matters, and 



13 



that lie would be welcome to come and listen 
to the evidence j and subsequently, when they 
had taken the evidence of eight witnesses, they 
had a correct copy of it made and sent it to Sec 
retary Toucey, with a respectful letter, offering 
to subposna any witnesses he might desire to 
have called ; and when subsequent witnesses 
appeared before them, they took the same 
course. This was an example of impartiality 
towards a political opponent worthy of admira 
tion and imitation. 

Let me add, also, what is well known to this 
House, that when the celebrated investigating 
committee, presided over by my friend from 
Pennsylvania, [Mr. COVODE,] were engaged ic 
the labor of exposing the corruptions of Mr. 
Buchanan's administration-, their chairman was 
careful to furnish promptly, not only to the 
President, but also to his Cabinet ministers, 
copies of all testimony implicating them, thus 
giving them an opportunity of knowing what 
was charged against them, of disproving the 
charges if incorrect, or of explaining them 
away if they were susceptible of explanation. 
But how was it in the case of Fremont ? I 
undertake to say, and history proves it, that 
while Fremont was out hunting the enemy, 
some persons not the committee, perhaps, 
but his enemies in St. Louis were hunting up 
witnesses against him to have ex parte testi 
mony taken there ; and no sooner was it taken, 
while he was still in the face of the foe en 
deavoring to obtain victory for our arms and 
periling his life for his country, a synopsis 
of these ex parte statements w_as given by 
some one to some newspaper correspondent, 
and sent upon the wires all over the country, 
so as to poison the public mind against the 
commander of the de*partment of the West, 
and assist in achieving his overthrow. Sir, 
I think that in common justice, in common 
humanity if there are such things as jus 
tice and husaanity when he returned, a de 
posed general, the committee might, if they 
did not see fit to do so before, have sent him 

- the adverse evidence, which up to this hour 
they have never done, and said to him : " Sir, 
before you were sent to this department you 
were supposed to be an honest man, but this 
testimony clouds your character. It was taken 
in your absence; if you have any vindication 
or defence to offer, we will subpoena your wit 
nesses, and give their testimony to the world 
in company with that taken against you while 
you were in the field." But no; the tes 
timony was never sent to him, and he -has 
never seen it, unless some member of the 
House ere this has lent him a copy ; he has 
had no official information concerning it. 

My friend from Missouri says that Fremont 
has %3t demanded a trial. I wish to ask him 

if he did not make charges against General 
Fremont before the late Secretary of War, Mr. 
Cameron? 
Mr. BLAIR, of Missouri. Certainly. 



Mr COLFAX. Then I wish to say this : 
that if Secretary Cameron, the Minister of War, 
thought those charges worthy of consideration, 
it was his duty to have put Fremont on trial. 
I wish to ask my friend now, if he has not also* 
made charges against General Fremont before 
the present Secretary of War ? 

Mr. BLAIR, of Missouri. I preferred char 
ges against him at the time, and the gentleman 
knows very well that I have preferred no charges 
since ; but I know that the Judge Advocate 
has preferred charges since. 

Mr. COLFAX. Then, if the present Secre 
tary of War deems them worthy of investiga 
tion, it is his duty to order a trial. General 
Fremont has the same right as the meanest and 
wickedest^ man in the country has the right 
to meet his accusers face to face, and to stand 
up in his own defence, and vindicate himself 
against these charges. 

My friend was arrested by General Fremont, 
and I feel authorized to say that I went to 
Fremont at the time and remonstrated with 
him, and spoke in terms of condemnation of 
his arrest of my friend as being unwise and 
wrong ; that the country would regard it as the 
result of a personal quarrel, &c. Sincerely the 
friend of both, I desired, if possible, to restore 
friendly relations between them. It was during 
the dark days of which I have spoken ; but 
General Fremont replied that it was for insub 
ordination ; that he could not expect subordi 
nation in others, if, on account of my friend's 
influence and power, which he did not under 
rate, he passed his by in silence. Still, I deeply 
regretted it. But when my friend was dischar 
ged by order of General Scott, did hef think it 
necessary for his character- that, after having 
been thus discharged, he should still insist on 
a trial ? 

Mr. BLAIR, of Missouri. Yes, sir; and I 
did demand a trial. 

Mr. COLFAX. But none was had. Then, 
if my friend has made charges against General 
Fremont, and the War Department, either 
under Mr. Cameron or Mr. Stanton, deemed 
the charges such as substantially affect his 
present rank, it was their duty to arraign him 
and put him on trial. 

Mr. BLAIR, of Missouri. Charges have been 
preferred against him by the proper officer of 
the Government the judge advocate of the 
United States. 

Mr. WADSWORTH asked a question in 
reference to the contract for the fortificationi 
of St. Louis, which was inaudible at the re 
porters' desk. 

Mr. COLFAX. I am speaking now, not on 
dollars and cents, but to vindicate the history 
of the past ; but I will answer the gentleman 
from Kentucky as follows : I said at the open 
ing of my remarks, if the gentleman had been 
kind enough to listen to me, which I suppose 
he did not, that I did not defend the fortification 
contract, nor did I deem it wise or economical. 



14 



Mr. WADSWORTH. I heard the gentle 
man say so. 

Mr. GOLF AX. I am not called upon to 
defend that contract, but in justice to General 
Fremont, it ought to be stated that the con 
tractor offered, if the work could be done by 
day only, instead of day and night uninterrupt 
edly, when he would have to pay extra for night 
work, to do it for sixty per cent, less ; but Fre 
mont said, " time is worth more than money ; 
do the work immediately, with all the force you 
can put on, working night and day " for he 
was just then preparing for his march against 
Price. He needed all available troops, and, 
with the fortifications, he could leave St. Louis 
with a smaller force for its defence. 

But I want now to put a question to the gen 
tleman, argumentum ad hominum, as he has 
opened this question. Suppose you find that 
some claim has passed this Congress which 
everybody concedes to be entirely wrong and 
inexcusable; and suppose some man looking 
over the Globe finds, on the list of yeas and 
nays on the vote by which that money was im 
properly taken out of the Treasury, that Mr. 
WADSWORTH voted for it, and arraigns him be 
fore the people for it. This, on exparte evi 
dence, would look badly. Here is a cheating 
claim on the Treasury, the people would say, 
and the claimant gets his money out of our 
Treasury by the direct aid and consent of our 
Representative's vote. But there are two sides 
to it. The gentleman from Kentucky rises and 
says, " Does not my defamer know that the 
Committee of Claims reported favorably upon 
that claim, and that it is the custom of members 
of Congress to follow the report of the Commit 
tee of Claims, in cases which they have closely 
scrutinized, and against which they themselves 
see no objection ?" And when the gentleman 
has thus been heard in his defence, everybody 
says that, although he voted for the claim, he 
is acquitted, because his explanation is satis 
factory. That is the only fair way to try a man. 
Strike, but hear before you strike. If Fremont 
shall prove that he made this contract to carry 
on the work day and night until its completion, 
upon the advice of engineers and men experi 
enced in work of this kind, it will be at leasi 
some palliation of it, just as the gentleman's 
vote in favor of a bad claim, on the recocamen 
dation of the proper committee, would palliate 
it. I do not know what General Fremont's de 
fence is. I have not asked what his defence is. 

Mr. WADSWORTH. The case which the 
gentleman puts is not at all like this case. It 
appears that Fremont made a contract with an 
adventurer of the name of Beard for earth 
works and embankments, at $2 50 per cubic 
yard for removing the earth, when the com 
mittee tell us it was only worth sixty cents a 
cubic yard a difference of $1 90. 

Now, if I did anything of that sort as a mem 
ber of Congress, I should say that I was un 
worthy of holding my seat here, and my con 



stituents would be justified in denouncing my 
action as the result of bribery or other im 
proper influence. 

Mr. COLFAX. I am reminded by a friend 
near me that General Fremont, in his letter to 
Senator WADE, the chairman of the committee 
on the conduct of the war, explains this matter 
himself. As I do not defend these contracts, 
deeming them too costly, though I may err 
against him in that, I will let him make the 
explanation in his own language. 

Mr. WADSWORTH. I have never seen 
that explanation. 

Mr. COLFAX. I am going to read it to 
you : 

" When the prices for his work were under discussion and 
were referred to me by General McKinstry, I directed this 
officer to reduce them to what was just and reasonable to 
both parties, having reference to the circumstances under 
which the work was done, and the extra prices that had 
bean paid, so as to le'ave the contractor what might be 
strictly a fair profit on his labor, and his decision, whatever 
it was, was approved by me. For cost of construction and 
other details with which I am not acquainted, I respectfully 
refer the committee to the testimony of the quartermaster 
and the contractor, whom I have asked to have summoned. 

" To show their nature and value, the report and testimo 
ny of the engineers, who planned and who were superin 
tending the work, will be furnished the committee. The ob 
ject aimed at was the completion of the city defences in the 
shortest possible time. The works are thoroughly and 
well built, covering and comprehending the city itself and 
the surrounding country on a length of about ten miles, and 
the total cost is, I think, less than $300,000. 

" In my judgment, having in view the time and manner 
in which they were built, the money was well applied, and 
as a measure of expediency and policy, it was fully worth to 
the Government what it cost." 

This is just exactly what General McClellan 
and the Secretary of War do every day in the 
matter of ordnance, and a thousand other 
things. If Mr. Stanton attends to the business 
of his department, he would not have time to 
look after the details of all the contracts that 
are made for the vast service of that depart 
ment. He regards the heads of bureaus as his 
legal advisers in the matter. General Fre 
mont did the same thing with the heads of his 
the engineer department, quartermaster, &c., 
&c. All over the country General Fremont 
has been held responsible for what General 
McKinstry had done. He never appointed 
General McKinstry, nor could he remove him. 
McKinstry was appointed by the last Adminis 
tration, and continued at that post by the pres 
ent one. He was quartermaster general of 
that post, just as General Meigs is Quarter 
master General of the United States. He there 
fore had the authority to do this thing. 

Mr. STEVENS. I understand 'that Mc 
Kinstry is a good officer, and^was appointed 
on recommendations of an influential firm do 
ing business partly in this city and partly in 
St. Louis. 

Mr. COLFAX. As I said before, Mr Chair- 
man, I have not attempted to arraign anybody. 
I have not arraigned the commanding general 
of the army of the Potomac, or any Cabinet 
officer, or the President, or anybody else. I 
have only gathered together the facts of history, 
collected these official documents that every 



15 



one can read, and laid them before the House ; 
and with a few remarks in conclusion, I will 
relieve my fellow-members from listening to me 
further. 

The CHAIRMAN. The gentleman has had 
consent to proceed without limitation as to 
time. 

Mr. COLFAX. I will not take advantage 
of th$ good nature of the House. When Fre 
mont was superseded, what was the condition 
of affairs in Missouri ? It has gone into his 
tory, and will live there during all time, his 
proudest and noblest vindication. The whole 
State, thanks to nis energy, was more tranquil 
on that day than was Western Virginia or 
Kentucky at that period all except a little 
corner down by Arkansas, and an United 
States officer in uniform could ride alone from 
Springfield, near the Arkansas line, to St. 
Louis, unmolested and unharmed ; that was 
certainly one thing not to his discredit. 

In the second place, the army which he was 
heading was further South than any other 
army oi the Union on that day. That was an 
other good sign. 

In the third place, it was headed in the right 
direction southward, after the enemy. That 
$tfas still another good sign. He may be a 
very incompetent general, as my friend insists, 
though I differ widely from him on that point ; 
but it took three months after his supersedure 
to get things back to just the point where he 
left them, saying nothing of all the rebel out 
rages during the interim. 

In the fourth place, the men under his com 
mand were filled with loyalty and enthusiasm 
for him. If he had been this imbecile, this 
corrupt man, this timid man, this incompetent 
general, they would have scorned and despised 
him, and would have revolted against him. The 
brave life guard commanded by Zagonyi who, 
my friend says, won no victory at Springfield 
performed the most brilliant achievement of the 
war up to that time, and lighted up the horizon, 
after long months of inaction and reverse, with 
the glorious illumination of that act the pres 
age of future triumphs for our arms. But that 
charge upon the enemy, with the war cry of 
"Fremont and the Union," cost them dearly. 
When the life guard came back to St. Louis, 
they were dismissed from service "for words spo 
ken at Springfield." They were refused rations 
for themselves ; they were refused forage for their 
horses ; they were treated with disapproval and 
almost contempt "for words spoken at Spring 
field." They were mustered out of service ; 
and Zagonyi, who would gladly give his life to 
make another such charge on the rebel host, 



finds noplace open for him in the- armies of 
the Union. They had dared to charge upon 
the enemy, shouting the name of their chief, 
whom, perhaps, they 

" Loved, not wisely, but too well." 
But I do insist, however we may differ as to 
Fremont, that the noble band who hurled them 
selves on ten times their number, drove them 
before them by their impetuous charge, and 
planted the starry -banner of the Union on the 
court-house spire at Springfield, should be spo 
ken ofon this floor with admiration of their 
heroism, and not by endeavoring to underrate 
their brave endeavor. 

In the fifth place, Fremontfhad marched his 
army rapidly after the enemy, notwithstanding 
the adjutant general of the United States, who 
had seen him on the road, said he could not 
move it for lack of transportation. Mr. Thur- 
low Weed, in his letter, which was also thrown 
in the scale against Fremont, at the trying 
hour when his supersedure was pending, and 
he himself was in the field, said the same thing 
that Fremont had got to the Osage, but that 
he could not progress beyond it, and that it 
was well understood at Warsaw he did not in 
tend to. But, sir, the man who scaled the 
Rocky Mountains is not the man who stands 
idle " for lack of transportation." He threw a 
bridge across the Osage river in thirty-six 
working hours, infusing into the troops the 
same energy that has characterized his whole 
life. The army crossed, and proceeded with 
forced marches on after the enemy in the right 
direction. But the moment came that he was 
to be superseded, and then he fell. 

In the sixth place, whatever charges have 
been made that he unwisely reposed confidence 
in certain contractors, not even his bitterest 
enemies have intimated that a single dollar of 
the people's money, beyond his salary, has stuck 
to his fingers. 

In the seventh and last place, when he left 
the State of Missouri, all the railroads of the 
State were running for every mile of their length, 
and to their full capacity; and he left behind 
him in the city of St. Louis a monument of his 
good sense, if not of his genius, in making a 
connection of all the railroads at the levee, so 
that the rolling stock of all three could be, in 
.case of a sudden emergency, used on any one 
of them. That closes his career as the com 
mander of the department of the West; and 
the duty, of all others, the most grateful to me, 
vindicating a friend in the hour of trial and 
adversity, having been performed, it only re 
mains for me to thank the House for the gen 
erous extension of time they have given me. 



APPENDIX 






Fremont's plan last September for tlie Kentuclcy and Tennessee campaign, ivJiick was doubtless 
referred by the President to the General commanding : 



[PRIVATE.] 

HEADQUARTERS WESTERN DEPARTMENT, 

September 8, 1861. 
To the PRESIDENT^ 

MY DEAR SIR : I send by another hand what 
I ask you to consider in respect to the subject 
of the note by your special messenger. 

In this I desire to ask your attention to the 
position of affairs in Kentucky. As the rebel 
troops, driven out from Missouri, had invaded 
:<cky in considerable force, and by occu 
pying Union city, Hickman, and Columbus, 
were preparing to seize Paducah and attack 
Cairo, I judged it impossible, without losing 
important advantages, to defer any longer a 
forward movement. For this purpose I have 
drawn from the Missouri side a part of the 
force which had been stationed at Bird's Point, 
Cairo, and Cape Girardeau, to Fort Holt and 
Paducah, of which places we have taken pos 
session.* As the rebel forces outnumbered 
ours, and the counties of Kentucky between 
the Mississippi and Tennessee rivers, as well as 
those along the latter and the Cumberland, are 
strongly secessionist, it becomes imperatively 
necessary to have the co-operation of the loyal 
Union forces under Generals Anderson and 
Nelson, as well as of those already encamped 
opposite Louisville, under Colonel Rous 
seau. I have reinforced, yesterday, Paducah 
with two regiments, and will continue to 
strengthen the position with men and artillery. 
As soon as General Smith, who commands 
there, is reinforced sufficiently for him to 
spread his forces, he will have to take and 
hold May field and Lo/elaceville, to be in the 
rear and flank of Columbus, arid to occupy 
Smithland, controlling in this way the mouths 
of both the Tennessee and the Cumberland 
rivers. At. the same time, Colonel Rousseau 
should bring his force, increased, if possible, 
by two Ohio regiments, in boats to Henderson, 
and, taking the Henderson and Nashville 

*This anticipated the rebels a few days, and enabled the 
United States forces to command the mouth of the Ten- 
nesse river. 



railroad, occupy Hopkinsville, while General 
Nelson should go with a force of 5,000 by rail 
road to Louisville, and from tnere to Bowling 
Green.* 

As the population in all the counties through 
which the above railroads pass are loyal, this 
movement could be made without delay or mo 
lestation to the troops. Meanwhile, Gen. Grant 
would take possession of the entire Cairo and 
Fulton railroad, Piketon, New Madrid, and the 
shore of the Mississippi opposite Hicjcman and 
Columbus.f The foregoing disposition having 
been effected, a combined attack will be made 
upon Columbus, and if successful in that, upon 
Hickraan, while Rousseau and Nelson will move 
in concert, by railroad, to Nashville, Tenn., oc 
cupying the State capital, and, with an adequate | 
force, New Providence. The conclusion of this 
movement would be a combined advance to 
ward Memphis, on the Mississippi, as well as 
the Memphis and Ohio railroad, and I trust 
the result would be a glorious one to the coun 
try. IH a reply to a letter from Gen. Sherman, 
by the hand of Judge Williams, in relation to 
the vast importance of securing possession in 
advance of the country lying between the Ohio, 
Tennessee, and Mississippi, I have to-day sug 
gested the first part of the preceding plan. By 
extending my command to Indiana, Tennessee, 
and Kentucky, you would enable me to attempt 
the accomplishment of this all-important result : 
and in order to secure the secresy necessary to 
its success, I shall not extend the communica 
tion which I have made to Gen. Sherman, or 
repeat it to any one else. 

With high respect and regard, 

I am, very truly, yours, 

J. C. FREMONT. 



Gi'Ron v.':i. : - nut thns ocdimed ; I'.rH wag fub 
sequently tak uie rebels, who advanced 

from it to Muldraugh's Hill, where they threatened Louis 
ville. 

f New Madrid was not thus occupied, and has since been 
held by the rebels ; and in the endeavor, months subsequent 
ly, to occupy the region opposite Columbus, the disaster 
of Bclmont occurred. 



WASHINGTON, D. C. 



SCAMMELL & C0. ; PRINTERS, CORNER OF SECOND & INDIANA AYENUE, THIRD FLOOR, 



1862.